Thursday, 27 October 2011

Social Media sometimes makes me cringe

I've been absent for a while. I'm sorry. I have a few excuses so thought I would write a blog about them.
One excuse is that recently I had a "Wake-up Call" regarding my housekeeping... or lack thereof. I have a one year old boy now, and I do completely believe that everyone with an under one year old is in a grace period regarding these things the world regards as wifely duties - cleaning, cooking, laundry and all the other fascinating stuff that most mums spend their lives trying to get done. With really little kids life is often just about survival. Most days the laundry, the dishes and the dinner have to get done, and that's more than enough to completely exhaust and overwhelm the average new mum. Anything else is a bonus and a rarity.
But now Ryan is one, and while he is still hard work in the sense that he occupies a lot of space and time, and doesn't let his mum sleep much, he is big enough to wander around and play with toys, play with his sister, grab bits of toast and eat them on the go. There are more and more pockets of time in which I could achieve something worthwhile, if I could be bothered. And most of the time I couldn't.
So anyway, this is rather dull. Long story short, I've been attempting to make more of an effort (with the help of some friends), and it's going well, I think. But this has meant that I have not spent half as much time on the computer. So blogs and twitter and all have sort of fallen off the priority list.
I find social media (facebook, twitter etc) a sneaky beast. I love it in a lot of ways. I love seeing friends photos, reading funny comments, getting to inspire people and connect. But there is so much that I really don't like about it, and a lot that I think we need to be very wary of. My main "cringe-factor" areas can be grouped into these areas: Overshare; Exclusion; and Just-wrong.
Overshare is hard. Some people seem to spill the most intimate details of their life out to their hundreds of random friends on Facebook. I think that for teens facebook is what a diary used to be to the rest of us old folk. But it's not a diary - its something that anyone, anytime, can read and judge you from. And the new changes they brought in a few weeks ago have just made this worse. Now you know what everyone is doing, every comment they make, every page they like - and some of the "pages" people make, and like, are awful. I got so upset seeing one teen girl "like" a page called "That awkward moment when you jump off a bridge and change your mind halfway down". Now I'm aware I'm being a total spoil sport, and people will all say that it's just a big joke. But you don't joke about suicide. And Overshare is hard too when you get news via facebook that you haven't been told by the person face to face. Do you say something next time you see them? And what about relationship status's? The whole thing does my head in.
Then we get to Exclusion. And this is most of the time not done on purpose I think. But I wish people would be a bit more careful sometimes. When we post comments that "tag" people in or out of activities, when we tell people we have had a great day with them, when we post private jokes, or invite people to events that others aren't invited to... the pastor heart side of me finds this hard sometimes, because for some people this is a very clear indication of who is "in" and who is "out". I do not like the fact that posting happy posts about nice times can turn into a point of rejection for others. I don't know what to do with this one. I just know it makes me feel awkward sometimes.
And then "Just-Wrong". If you are not a believer in Jesus, not a Christian - then by all means do whatever you like, I have absolutely no problem with it, it is none of my business. But if you are, then it kind of is my business. And we need to use a whole lot more wisdom when we post on facebook, when we "like" pages, when we comment on stuff. Perhaps sometimes we need to be wise with who we friend, if the posts they are making aren't clean or are not stuff we know we should be reading. Now I really struggle on this. I don't like "de-friending" either. But I am tired of reading disgusting stuff, knowing that it's entirely my own choice to be on this site and using it like I am. Would you say it to my face? Would you say it to your pastors face? Would you say it in a job interview? Hmmm.
"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God... For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved." 
1 Corinthians 10:31-33
There are more than a few times in the bible where it tells us not to cause anyone to stumble. There is stuff on facebook frequently that causes me to stumble, and I've been a Christian all my life and am in a strong place in my walk. So how do we appear to our friends who are perhaps new to all this? What about to our friends who don't know God?
I am torn - between opting out altogether and going back to my non-social-media bubble, or staying and trying to make it work for me. At the moment I stay. Because I think we have been handed a tool, as believers and as people who want to make a positive change for this world that our children will grow up into. But I wish that more people would use Facebook and Twitter as a vehicle for positive change, for affirmation, for encouragement and inspiration. As a way to be a witness for God, to show his goodness. I am not suggesting that I'm great at this. I'm just trying to explain the mess in my head, I think. 
So I will try to keep going with this blog thing, to learn as I go. No doubt I'll look back and cringe at this too. But my intentions are good, and I trust that God is moulding me as I try to work this all out.
Sarah xx

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sarah,

    Fantastic post - I've been having a lot of thoughts on social media which have been along similar lines - on the impact of social media on relationships: how it *is* making them more passive (less intentional), the responsibility we have with that information which is shared; do we become desensitised and unfeeling and even forget that we are responsible.

    Facebook's former president Sean Parker said recently "today's creepy is tomorrow's necessity" - but is it *right*?

    An excellent book on the topic is "Alone Together": - I highly recommend it.

    Came by your blog via Marion's, I'm a friend of hers :)

    Thanks for your post,